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Trade Coverage

Drew Stafford traded to Bruins by Jets

Winnipeg gets draft pick in return for forward

by Scott Billeck / NHL.com Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Forward Drew Stafford was traded to the Boston Bruins by the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

The pick can improve to as high as the fourth round if Stafford plays in at least 50 percent of Boston's remaining regular-season and playoff games and if the Bruins advance past the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"I'm excited," Stafford said. "It's a great opportunity to get back in the mix. It's very similar to when I got moved here (to Winnipeg), a team that's right in the hunt. That's why you play, is to play in the playoffs."

Boston (33-24-6) was in third place in the Atlantic Division, three points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who hold the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference and have played one fewer game.

Stafford, 31, is in the final season of a two-year contract with an average annual value of $4.35 million, according to CapFriendly.com. He can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

"I think he can probably [play] anywhere on the right side," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. "Good shot, strength, can get to the net, and has a power-play acumen, has a good shot. Hopefully he can contribute in all those areas.

"We're fortunate that we are able to add Drew to our lineup. We felt that if that was an area that we could add, I was going to look to do that without pulling away the things that we've been sort of committed to do.

"Excited that he's a player that has an ability to play up and down the lineup, has scoring attributes, has some size (6-foot-2, 214 pounds) and strength, and hopefully will be a good complement to our group."

Video: WPG@LAK: Perreault feeds Stafford for PPG in the 2nd

Stafford arrived in Winnipeg as part of a seven-player trade with defenseman Tyler Myers, forwards Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux and a first-round pick from the Buffalo Sabres, who received forward Evander Kane, defenseman Zach Bogosian and goaltender Jason Kasdorf prior to the 2015 NHL Trade Deadline.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said trading Stafford was the only move that made sense for them Wednesday.

"We made a decision that we weren't going to re-sign Drew in the summertime," Cheveldayoff said. "If it's going to push Drew into a situation that he's not useful for us, then it really doesn't help us both now and in the future.

"Drew's not a fourth-liner or a bottom-six type of player. If there's not an opportunity for him to play in the top six given [Nikolaj] Ehlers and [Patrik] Laine bursting onto the scene, it was an opportunity for us to get [Andrew] Copp and [Marko] Dano back into the lineup."

Stafford was in his third season with the Jets and had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 40 games. He has 392 points (179 goals, 213 assists) in 707 NHL games with the Jets and Sabres.

"I was extremely honored and privileged to get the opportunity to play in a city like this," he said of Winnipeg. "The people and the fans were incredible. The people I've met throughout the city, they're so excited to have a team here and they want nothing but success for the guys.

"I've got a lot of faith in this team. They've got a lot of really good pieces here and I'm sure they'll find success."

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